Date of Award

Spring 3-23-2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Respiratory Therapy

First Advisor

Douglas Gardenhire

Second Advisor

Chip Zimmerman

Third Advisor

Shi Huh Samuel Shan


Pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) has a positive effect on COPD patients. The response to PR demonstrates positive impacts on daily life activities and exercise tolerance. However, the referral criteria to PR program for COPD patients does not mention anything about the time factor or the stage of the disease. The recommended stage of starting the program should be included in the acceptance guidelines. More studies are needed to examine which COPD stage will benefit more than the others. PURPOSE: The purpose of the study is to determine the most optimal time to start pulmonary rehabilitation for COPD patients. METHOD: A retrospective study was utilized, and the data were collected from an urban hospital for the last five years (2013 to 2017). Patients were divided into four groups using the GOLD classification guideline for COPD patients. Every group represents different FEV1 range and has pre- and post-PR program variables. The measured variables were 6MWT and Chronic Respiratory Questionnaire(CRQ). The evaluation focused on the comparison between the groups, not within the groups. DATA ANALYSIS: The analysis was conducted by SPSS version 24.0. Descriptive statistics, dependent sample t-test, ANOVA, and Welch test were utilized. T-test was used to find the difference between pre- and post-variables and ANOVA test to compare the difference between the four groups. RESULTS: comparison between groups ANOVA results were Six-minute walk difference F (3.65) =1.3, p=.281. Dyspnea difference F (3.65) =.155, p=.926. Fatigue difference F (3,65) =.640, p=.592. Emotional difference F (3,65) =.221, p=.881. Mastery difference F (3,65) =.363, p=.780.

CONCLUSION: There was a significant difference between pre- and post-pulmonary rehabilitation results and all the groups responded positively to the program. There were no significantly different responses to the program between the four groups. As a result, there is no specific preferred stage to start the program.